A number of years ago IPAT realized that there were just way too many folks in the state that could benefit from assistive technology devices and were falling through the cracks of funding resources. About 2 years ago we were in a position as a fairly new non-profit organization to take action to address this issue. The idea of raising money for the specific purpose of  purchasing assistive technology  for people with disabilities or those experiencing the effects of aging led us to create  an annual fundraiser we’ve called “Pedaling for Possibilities.”  As an event it’s been quite successful, as it’s impacted people’s lives… well, you be the judge after you read Bryant’s story below!

“I am Bryant from Fargo, North Dakota and I have a disease called Beckers Muscular Dystrophy.   This disease causes a slow, gradual decrease in muscle strength starting in the legs and spreading to other muscles throughout the body over time.  Needless to say, this brings about many challenges in my life; activities that other people would feel are simple.  One example of this is lifting objects like milk jugs or other slightly heavier objects that many people use on a daily basis.  Another really big problem is the fact that I can no longer walk from place to place.  This has been helped by my power wheelchair that I now have, but that led to a few more challenges like getting through doors and the inability to tilt my chair to relieve pressure to prevent pressure ulcers.  This feature almost always comes on power wheelchairs, but the cost prevented us from getting it right away.

As I mentioned before, a tilt is standard on almost every power wheelchair because the people who use power wheelchairs rarely get out of their chairs.  This can lead to pressure ulcers that are hard to get rid of after you get them.  The tilt is used to relieve pressure which, in turn, prevents pressure ulcers.  After I started to stay in the power wheelchair for longer amounts of time, it became apparent that this addition to the chair would be needed soon.  We got the prescription from my doctor and a quote, and started to look for ways to ease the burden of paying for this expensive addition all by ourselves.  Finding funding was hard since we do not qualify for help from the government through special programs such as Social Security Disability or Cass County Social Services.  Also our insurance policy includes a co-pay and coinsurance charge which can lead to a high out-of-pocket amount for my family.  Then we heard about IPAT from my school physical therapist and the local MDA office who said that they were awarding grants for assistive technology to people who need help paying.  Upon hearing this we quickly started working on obtaining the necessary recommendation letters to submit the grant application.  Needless to say, IPAT came through for us and now I have a great new tilt addition to my power wheelchair.

My new tilt has made my life a lot more comfortable than it used to be.  It has made it easier to stay home by myself while the rest of my family is working because if I feel uncomfortable from sitting too long, I can just tilt my chair back and relieve the pressure from sitting so long.  It also makes it more comfortable to sit in one spot for a long time.  For example, if I am playing some video games I lean my chair back so I’m in a relaxing, comfortable position while I play.  This makes it easier on me because I don’t have to move around to stay comfortable.  Also, my physical therapists are especially grateful because they say having the tilt will greatly reduce the likelihood of my developing pressure ulcers.  All in all, my tilt has made my life better in many ways, and IPAT helped me get it when I needed it most.”

IPAT’s next stationary bike race is Saturday, February 9, 2013 – can we count on you to help give others their new slant on life?!  Visit http://www.ndipat.org/pedaling/ for more information and call us at (800) 895-4728.